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Erisco Foods: Court To Hear Chioma Okoli’s Bail Application on Friday

Chioma Okoli’s lawyer said she suffered a miscarriage due to stress, while prosecution opposed bail, citing past non-compliance with conditions.

Justice Peter Lifu of the Federal High Court, Abuja, will on Friday hear the bail application of a Facebook user, Mrs. Chioma Okoli, standing trial for reviewing a tomato paste belonging to Erisco Foods Limited.

Lifu had on Wednesday adjourned till Friday for hearing in the bail application, shortly after Okoli was arraigned by the Office of the Inspector General (IG) of Police on a two-count charge of conspiracy and cyber-stalking.

Okoli had pleaded not guilty to the charges and his lawyer informed the court of the defendant’s bail application, but the court ordered her remand at the Suleja Correctional Centre and adjourned till Friday, to decide whether to release Okoli on bail.

The police after their investigation of a petition from Erisco Foods Limited, alleging damaging review of its Nagiko Tomatoes brand, filed the two-count charge against the Facebook user. 

 She was said to have committed the alleged offences sometime in September last year.

One of the charges read, “That you Chioma Edoka Okoli also known as Chioma Egodi Jnr, Happiness Obas now at large And Don Kashking now at large ‘m’ on or about sometime in the month of September 2023 within the jurisdiction of this court, conspired among yourself and intentionally sent a message by means of computer and social media network such as Facebook, by using your Facebook handle by name Chioma Egodi Jnr, with the intention of instigating people against Erisco Foods Limited, knowing the said information to be false and with intent to cause annoyance, inconvenience, danger, obstruction, insult, injury, criminal intimidation, enmity, hatred, ill will, or needless anxiety to Erisco Foods Limited, the management, and members of the family, thereby committed an offense contrary and punishable under Section 27 (1) (B) Cyber Crime Prohibition Act.”

She will remain in custody until Friday, May 31, when the court will rule on her bail application.

Arguing the bail, her lawyer and human rights activist, Mr Inibehe Effiong, informed the court that the defendant had suffered a miscarriage due to the psychological stress from the case.

The case stemmed from a 2023 incident in which Erisco Foods CEO, Eric Omeofia, claimed that Okoli’s negative review of their product, Nagiko Tomato Mix, harmed his business.

Okoli was subsequently arrested in September 2023, leading her lawyer to accuse the police and Omeofia of violating her rights.

The prosecution, led by Abdulrashid Isyaku-Sidi, opposed the bail, arguing that Okoli had previously failed to comply with bail conditions.

Subsequently, Lifu adjourned ruling on the bail application to Friday and set the main hearing for June 13.

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